In a coup for the first-time event, federal Resources Minister Matthew Canavan will open Gunnedah’s Energy, Innovation and Mining Expo (eIMEx).
The latest guest announced for a gala dinner during the expo, Mr Canavan will join the keynote speaker, Afghanistan veteran Damien Thomlinson; and the MC, poet and author Murray Hartin.
The dinner at Gunnedah Town Hall will also raise funds to help rural students go to university, through the council’s Community Scholarship Fund.
The eIMEx will be held from November 1-3 at the showground.
Administration officer Helen Cygan said Mr Canavan was “always a hopeful” for the event, and the committee was “just really pleased he’s decided to support [it].”
The dinner will include a charity auction whose proceeds will go to the scholarship fund supporting students in need who are attending tertiary education.
Speakers have also been confirmed for a breakfast in the basketball stadium that will kick off the three-day event on the Thursday morning.
They will be local business woman and National Rural Womens Coalition chief executive, Keli McDonald; risk advisory firm Manage Damage managing director Jillian Hamilton; Friendly Faces, Helping Hands chief executive Kelly Foran; and Sober in the Country creator Shanna Whan.
Ms Cygan said the committee hoped to have tickets to the breakfast and the dinner on sale by the end of the week.
She said the committee members were still locking in exhibitors and finalising seminars.
Some of the topics to be covered will include: water conservation and efficiency in agriculture; workplace issues such as mental health and bullying; employment opportunities; education and training; bio energy; mine site rehabilitation; indigenous workforce opportunities; and drones.